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A Report from

Christmas in Vienna and Bratislava, 22 – 28 December 2007,

Allan Finlayson

We stayed at the Austria Trend Lassalle Hotel, Engerthstrasse, Vienna, as a one off Christmas treat. The excellent Viennese public transport system was used to explore the city, (the metro system will take you to both Schönbrunn palace and the Lainzer Tiergarten) and we also used the Austrian railway system to take a day trip to Bratislava in Slovakia, which is only 30 miles distant. The weather was very cold, rarely rising above freezing while we were there, and the sky remained totally overcast almost throughout. However, there was no wind, rain and hardly any snow, so, once we had acclimatised to the cold weather, it was no trouble to go about.

This was not a wildlife holiday by any means, and I would have liked more time to explore the Lainzer Tiergarten (which is a huge, 22 kilometre former hunting park of the Austrian emperors on the outskirts of the city) and the gardens at Schönbrunn Palace (both excellent for up to seven species of woodpeckers between them) but I recorded what we saw nonetheless. And it was a bit different!

Species accounts


1. Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
One seen flying up the Danube river, Vienna, (24/12).

2. Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
One in the gardens of Schönbrunn palace, (26/12).

3. Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Several in the gardens of Schönbrunn palace, (26/12).

4. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Several in the Danube river, Vienna, (23/12) and near the Lainzer Tiergarten, (25/12).

5. Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
1-2 seen from the train between Vienna and Bratislava, (27/12).

6. Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
1 being mobbed by crows in the Lainzer Tiergarten, (25/12).

7. Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
1 seen from the train between Vienna and Bratislava, (27/12).

8. Common Pheasant (Phasanius colchius)
2 seen from the train between Vienna and Bratislava, (27/12).

9. Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
Abundant around the Danube in Vienna city centre.

10. Feral Pigeon (Columbia livia)
Common in both Vienna and Bratislava.                                               

11. Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)
One heard in the Lainzer Tiergarten, (25/12).

12. Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopus major)
Seen at the Lainzer Tiergarten (25/12) and Schönbrunn (26/12).

13. Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopus medius)
Seen at the Lainzer Tiergarten (25/12) and Schönbrunn (26/12).

14. Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
One in the castle gardens, Bratislava, (27/12).

15. Redwing (Turdus iliacus)
One at Schönbrunn (26/12).

16. Common Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Seen Vienna (23/12) and Bratislava (27/12).

17. Common Magpie (Pica pica)                                              
Seen from the train between Vienna and Bratislava, (27/12) and in Bratislava (27/12).

18. Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
One seen at the Lainzer Tiergarten (25/12).

19. Rook (Corvus frugilegus)
Seen commonly in Vienna.

20. Hooded Crow (Corvus corone cornix)
Abundant everywhere in Vienna; also in Bratislava (27/12).

21. Carrion Crow (Corvus corone corone)
Seen Vienna city centre (23/12 and 25/12).

22. Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus)                                                       
Seen at the Lainzer Tiergarten (25/12).

23. Great Tit (Parus major)
Seen Vienna city centre (24/12), Lainzer Tiergarten (25/12) and Bratislava (27/12).

24. Coal Tit (Parus ater)
One seen Vienna city centre (23/12).

25. House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Seen Vienna city centre (23/12), where common, and in Bratislava (27/12).

26. European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Seen Vienna city centre (23/12) and in Bratislava (27/12).

27. Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europea)
Surprisingly common –and noisy! Seen Grinzing (23/12), Lainzer Tiergarten (25/12) and Schönbrunn (26/12).

28. Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla)
One seen outside the hotel (24/12) and 1-2 at the Lainzer Tiergarten (25/12).


1. Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)
Semi tame animals were common at the Lainzer Tiergarten (25/12).

2. Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus)                                             
One seen from the train between Vienna and Bratislava, (27/12).


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